Character Is Built Daily
Many of us want quick results and we wish we were able to be more mature, more gentle, more loving, and be a person of integrity more often than we are. We want to be able to react and respond to life in mature ways and yet we keep “missing the mark”.
When our grandson Cristian was a baby, PopPop would consistently whisper in his ear, “Cristian, when you grow up you’re gonna be a man of integrity”. He was too little to understand what the word “integrity” meant, but PopPop knew that one day he would ask him what it meant and, sure enough, by the time he was three he asked PopPop, “What does the word integrity mean?”
PopPop simply said, “Christian, it means to do the right thing every time”. Christian said, “Oh… ok”. End of conversation.
Within a couple days his mom called PopPop and told him what Cristian did for her. She said, “Dad, Cristian did the sweetest thing. I was laying on the couch not feeling well. Cristian was busy playing and he stopped what he was doing and slipped onto the couch beside me. He asked me if I wasn’t feeling well and began stroking my hair and face. He got a blanket and covered me and then asked if he could get me a drink of water. I told him that would be nice.
He ran to the kitchen, pulled up a chair to get me a glass of water, and brought it over and snuggled next to me. All the while I’m watching, wondering, ‘what is making him be so sweet to me?’… so I asked him, ‘Cristian, why are you being so sweet to me?’ He said, ‘oh, I’m just practicing to be a man of integrity’.”
It took her by surprise and of course she called her Dad to tell him what Cristian did. She could not believe he used the word integrity! PopPop told her why he knew the word. No one knew about the “whispering” between PopPop and Cristian until then.
It’s a cute story, but also very practical. To become a person of integrity and to build our character takes practice. We keep doing the right thing and, in time, we become the kind of person others enjoy being around and we can actually like who we have become. Character is not built in a day, but it is built daily… keep practicing and one day you will look back and clearly see that your discipline has made you a better person.
– Anne Beiler